We all tend to collect our memories somewhere - scrapbooks, journals, photo albums, memory quilts, recipes or family movies (just to name a few).  But for many of us, our gardens are what carry us through the years, bringing back fond memories through sight, scent, touch and taste. Personally, I can't help but think of my grandmother whenever I see a towering delphinium.  And the sound of palm fronds 'clapping' in the wind instantly transports me to one of my [read more]
There's something alluring about beautiful plants that have a bite to them. In fact, I just attended a fascinating talk by desert-designer-extraordinaire Scott Calhoun, who believes our fascination with plants that make us bleed is akin to the Stockholm Syndrome - ha! While I don't go out of my way to design gardens that will intentionally impale or poison people, I also don't go out of my way to avoid plants that might have potential for pain.  Just like lots [read more]
I've been wanting to write about this garden for a long time, and have finally found the perfect opportunity with today's Garden Designers Roundtable topic 'Focusing on the Details'.  (Warning:  lots of photos for this one!) While touring gardens last year with Debra Lee Baldwin, she insisted I meet her good friend, Jim Bishop.  And, if I was really lucky, I might even get to see his garden.  Thank heavens it was my lucky day.  Jim Bishop is pretty amazing [read more]
The natives are coming, the natives are coming!    Each passing year brings more and more native plants to our California nurseries, and I couldn’t be more pleased. In response to this growing demand, even the smallest nursery these days seems to have a section dedicated to native plants. However, there are some clients who are still a little hesitant whenever I suggest using a native plant for fear their garden will begin taking on an different aesthetic, look ‘too [read more]
As a landscape designer and garden writer I see lots and lots of gardens. And while I’m a huge fan of personalizing your garden with whatever art captures your heart, lately I seem to be drawn to selectively placed, oversized sculptures. I think this is because my own life is so hectic right now, and I crave the calming effect  these sculptures have on my whirling and tired brain.  My favorites are those larger-than-life sculptures that are strategically situated [read more]
Welcome to the Garden Designers Roundtable, where designers from around the world participate in monthly discussions about all things gardening. The topic for this month is Texture. As many gardeners already know, gardening appeals to all the senses.  Not only do our eyes visually benefit from our creative efforts, but equally important are a garden's tastes, delicious scents and gentle sounds.  The sense of touch, while equally important, is often ignored.  Why?  Many gardeners aren't exactly sure how to use [read more]
In this month's Garden Designers Roundtable, we have the honor of writing about our own personal gardens. While this may seem like an easy post to write, it’s actually been quite difficult for me.   How can I possibly share my garden with you in a way that conveys all that it means to me? While trying to think about what I'd write I was suddenly overtaken by the need to lie down on my soft and comfy patio sofa [read more]
The topic for this month's Garden Designers Roundtable is Garden Travel/Best Gardens.  While I immediately thought of the many beautiful gardens I've seen on my travels, there's one that I've recently had the pleasure of visiting, and one that I can't get out of my mind.  It's a private garden here in Northern California, created by Jarrod Baumann, a most talented young landscape architect with his firm Zaterre Landscape Architecture. (more…) [read more]
I've been wanting to write about this for a long, long time - my Top 10 things NOT to do in your garden!  Having designed gardens for over a decade, I've seen a lot of crazy things; some funny, some not so much. Please join me today, along with the rest of the Garden Designers Roundtable, as we discuss the topic 'Reality Check - don't do this'!   (more…) [read more]
Sure, it's tempting to title this post Deer-Proof Plants or something of that nature but truth be told, deer will eat just about anything when they're hungry.  And not only that, they're some of the craftiest animals around when it comes to sneaking into your garden.  The second you leave your gate open, they let themselves in and prune your roses to the ground. Instead of fighting this constant, never-ending battle with deer I've found it much easier to accept [read more]